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The latest report on the financial statements of Welsh housing associations reveals a continued trend of resilience from the sector.
The report backs up the highly regarded status of the sector amongst industry peers, including CBI Cymru, who recently gave their backing to the Homes for Wales campaign’s call that investing in housing makes business sense for Wales.
Following his appointment as First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM yesterday announced the new cabinet of the Welsh Government. The housing brief returns to Carl Sargeant AM under the renamed portfolio of Communities and Children. The appointment of Kirsty Williams AM as Cabinet Secretary for Education will need to be ratified by a special Welsh Lib Dem conference tomorrow and does not constitute a coalition agreement, according to the First Minister. A statement by the Lib Dems said Kirsty Williams and the First Minister reached a Progressive Agreement between the two parties to work together in Government.
All parties in the Cabinet supported the Homes for Wales campaign in the run up to the election and it’s great to see cross-party working on common issues such as housing. Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones has been reappointed as First Minister following last week’s tied vote with Leanne Wood. Carwyn Jones has confirmed that his party will not bring forward legislation in the first 100 days in order to establish a new way of law-making.
The Welsh housing sector is calling on the new Welsh Government to recognise the vital impact housing has on health, education and the economy in Wales by committing to an ambitious plan for housing in their new Programme for Government.
Following yesterday’s National Assembly for Wales election, Labour has secured 29 seats to remain the biggest party in the Assembly. Sixteen years ago, Community Housing Cymru set up an Award scheme to recognise housing innovation in memory of a special person - Pat Chown. As a way of remembering Pat, her contribution to housing and her constant search for better ways of doing things, Community Housing Cymru is inviting entries for the Capturing Creativity Award.
The Award judges will be looking for entries which demonstrate that the project has been ground-breaking. To find out more about the award, go to CHC's blog to read a post by John Chown, member of the judging panel. Community Housing Cymru (CHC), the membership body for Welsh housing associations, has appointed its new Director of Policy. Clarissa, who is originally from Swansea, will head up CHC’s Policy and External Affairs team. Some of Wales’ leading business figures have given their backing to the Homes for Wales campaign.
A variety of top Welsh business leaders, including Federation of Small Businesses Wales, CBI Cymru, Welsh ICE, Pro Steel Engineering and Learning and Work Institute Wales, have added their voice to the Homes for Wales campaign via social media to support the need for continued investment in housing.
Backing from the business world for the Homes for Wales campaign comes in addition to the thousands who have supported in person at a rally in Cardiff earlier this month, online and via social media.
At the Rural Regeneration Conference in March 2015, the Minister announced a two year funding commitment for Rural Housing Enablers in Wales. Hundreds of people are set to attend the Homes for Wales rally which takes place in Cardiff today (4 March).
Supporters will travel from all over Wales to highlight that housing needs to be a key political issue ahead of May’s National Assembly for Wales elections.
This public-facing campaign aims to shine the spotlight on how the housing crisis is impacting people in Wales in different ways.
Over a thousand people have supported the campaign online and celebrity supporters include Hollywood actor Michael Sheen, Welsh legend Max Boyce, Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert, Welsh film producer and actor Jonny Owen and BAFTA award-winning actress Vicky McClure.
The Department for Work and Pensions has today announced a one year exception to the Local Housing Allowance cap for supported accommodation in the social housing sector. Further guidance will be issued by the DWP shortly, but the statement highlighted refuges for those fleeing domestic abuse, homeless provision, housing for ex-offenders and supported housing for older people and disabled people as examples of accommodation subject to the exception. Community Housing Cymru welcomes today’s announcement which follows several months of lobbying from the housing sector, along with continued dialogue with the DWP, but we remain concerned about the implications of the policy.
The one year pause in applying the cap to supported accommodation gives DWP the opportunity to continue their strategic review of supported housing through Ipsos MORI, but it does not offer certainty to tenants or social housing providers over the future of supported housing. Our recent survey of Welsh housing associations found that the rent for 57% of supported accommodation is over the current LHA rate, and we are clear that the UK Government’s offer of a slight increase in DHP is inadequate. The Local Housing Allowance cap will still apply to all other new tenancies signed from April 2016, with any cut to housing benefit applicable from April 2018, and CHC’s priority will now be to ascertain the exact details of this policy which are still unclear. This investment will also provide a boost to employment in Wales supporting up to 800 jobs - including 300 in the design and build of new schools in our communities and 500 in providing affordable housing. Alongside the additional capital investment, the Minister has also published an update of the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan project pipeline in line with our ambition of providing a comprehensive picture of infrastructure investment across Wales. The Department for Work and Pensions has since clarified that the cap will also be applied to housing benefit for tenants in supported and sheltered housing. Supported Housing is accommodation designated for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. The provision of this additional support incurs a greater cost for landlords than the provision of general needs housing, and this is reflected through higher levels of rent. We are in the process of modelling the impact of these changes and gathering evidence to highlight the risk it presents to providers of supported and sheltered housing. To be clear, cuts of this scale will threaten the viability of supported and specified accommodation in the social rented sector in the future. Meanwhile, under 35s will see their rental income capped at the Shared Accommodation rate under LHA. The application of the under 35s Shared Accommodation Rate to social rented tenancies is of concern to us beyond the direct impact it would have on the funding of supported housing. As stated by our partners in Scotland and England, we are concerned about the Government’s proposal in the Spending Review which states that Discretionary Housing Payment will be the vehicle for dealing with some of the resulting shortfall for supported housing.
The Discretionary Housing Payments system is not designed or funded to meet all requests for assistance and to rely on it to help those in supported housing with a new benefit cap would leave local authorities to decide between individuals with varying levels of support needs. The impact of the LHA cap will be felt very soon as new tenants in supported housing from 1st April 2016 will face uncertainty about their future ability to pay their rent.
For further information on capping housing benefit to LHA rate, please read our in depth briefing. Welsh Government has today announced the members of the new independent Regulatory Board for Wales. Ground-breaking legislation to improve the lives of the one million people in Wales who rent their home, has today been granted Royal Assent by Her Majesty the Queen. The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will make renting a home simpler and easier, replacing various and complex pieces of existing legislation with one clear legal framework.
A Bill receives Royal Assent when Letters Patent under the Welsh Seal signed with Her Majesty’s own hand signifying Her Assent are notified to the Clerk of the Assembly.
The First Minister of Wales, as Keeper of the Welsh Seal, applied the Seal to the Letters Patent in a ceremony in Cardiff earlier today. Homes for Wales is a coalition led by Community Housing Cymru, Care & Repair Cymru, CIH Cymru, Shelter Cymru, Welsh Tenants, Home Builders Federation, Residential Landlords Association and RTPI Cymru.
You can sign up to support the campaign on the website, as well as downloading campaign resources such as logos, posters, postcards and explainer documents.
Our showcase event for the campaign will take place from 1pm on Friday 4th March, 2016 – the Homes for Wales rally.


While we welcome the increase in SHG, it is vital to emphasise the importance of a secure rental income stream. Any further cuts to Supporting People could have had disastrous consequences for vulnerable people across Wales which is why today’s announcement is so welcome.
Over the last year, we have worked in partnership with Cymorth Cymru to highlight the benefits of Supporting People and to call for its protection. The first ever Welsh Apprentice Challenge was launched at Community Housing Cymru's Annual Conference on 19th November. Team A - Callum (Pembrokeshire Housing), Daniel (Tai Ceredigion), Deri (Bron Afon Community Housing), Joseph (Celtic Horizons) and Katie (Merthyr Valleys Homes). Team United - Daniel (Tai Ceredigion), Demi (Cadwyn Housing Association), Emma (Celtic Horizons), James (North Wales Housing) and Lloyd (Valleys to Coast). Team C - Daniel (Taff), Emily (Cartrefi Conwy), Karolina (Monmouthshire Housing), Mathew (Coastal Housing Group), Oliver (Newport City Homes). Although we welcome the Chancellor’s U-turn on tax credits, all this will do in the long term is delay cuts until the full introduction of Universal Credit. A new agreement between Community Housing Cymru and Public Health Wales has committed the organisations to working more closely together to improve the lives and health of people in the most deprived communities in Wales. The memorandum is a commitment to a joint focus on prevention and early intervention, to ensuring work is informed by the best national and international evidence and to taking action to empower communities to improve health and wellbeing. The commitment will also enable the establishment of a joint Health and Housing Public Health Task Group including key representatives from health, housing, community and social care. Tracey Cooper, Chief Executive of Public Health Wales, said: "This memorandum marks the start of an exciting and purposeful partnership between Public Health Wales and Community Housing Cymru. The memorandum was signed by Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru, Stuart Ropke, and Chief Executive of Public Health Wales, Dr Tracey Cooper at CHC’s Annual Conference on 19 November 2015. Community Housing Cymru (CHC) is today (19 November) launching its first Welsh Apprentice Challenge.
Conference delegates will vote for their favourite campaign idea and the overall Welsh Apprentice champions will be awarded a certificate for their efforts by Julie James AM, Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology.
Demi Stephenson, fellow apprentice challenger, secured her job as an electrician with Cadwyn Housing Association after working full time voluntarily for several months. The Welsh Apprentice Challenge is being supported by TSW Training and The Prince’s Trust. Launched today (18th November), the findings are part of the latest Welsh Economy Research Unit (WERU) report, commissioned by Community Housing Cymru (CHC), which focuses on the wider economic impact of the social housing sector in Wales.
In less than a decade, Welsh housing associations have spent around £3bn in the Welsh economy on building and maintaining properties. We are working with colleagues from the devolved nations to ensure that the independence of the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish housing association sector is protected.
Community Housing Cymru Group (CHC) has welcomed news that Welsh Government is set to exceed the 10,000 affordable homes target.
We're always delighted to hear from clients who have their own preferred venues and locations, but equally from potential venues who want an informal or formal relationship with a fantastic training company. Having access to safe, warm and affordable housing is the foundation for the well-being of communities across Wales, and we need a resilient sector to deliver this.
517 of these homes were built without Social Housing Grant, proving that the sector is attracting alternative routes of affordable finance.
The sector’s gearing is now at 63%, an increase from 61% in 2014, demonstrating the commitment of Welsh housing associations to take on additional borrowing to help build essential new homes across Wales. In order to provide these services, it’s essential that the sector is financially robust. We had a productive relationship with him when he was Housing and Regeneration Minister previously, signing a housing supply pact to increase the number of affordable homes across Wales. The new Labour minority government, with its shared priorities, must now deliver on this promise with an ambitious plan for housing in the Programme for Government, including the pledges both Labour and Plaid Cymru made to end the Right to Buy and deliver 20,000 affordable homes. It’s vital that the new government recognises this and delivers on the ambitious housing targets we saw in party manifestos. They must now deliver on this promise with an ambitious plan for housing in the new Programme for Government. Pat gave a big part of her life to helping others and spent much of her working life in helping to meet people's housing needs in Wales. In this role, Clarissa works with housing associations to influence government and other key stakeholders on housing policy issues including reclassification, the Right to Buy and welfare reform. I am looking forward to joining a team that is already leading the housing sector in Wales and achieving great things.
CHC is focusing on several post-election priorities to ensure that housing remains a key issue in Wales when the new government is in place, and Clarissa will play an integral role in leading on these priorities. The campaign calls on the next Welsh Government to publish an ambitious plan for housing as part of the new Programme for Government which sets out how they will end the housing crisis in Wales. This has led to rising prices, undermining our economic competitiveness and Wales’ reputation as a destination for investment. Homes for Wales’ celebrity supporters include actor Michael Sheen, Welsh entertainer Max Boyce, comedian Rhod Gilbert, actor and producer Jonny Owen and Bafta-winning actress Vicky McClure.
Rural Housing Enablers play a significant role in ensuring the viability and sustainability of rural communities by overcoming many of the barriers in rural areas, such as identifying appropriate sites and assessing local needs. Despite getting on the housing ladder during the property boom, she could not progress further when the recession hit.
A home is one of the most basic but most vital building blocks of life and there simply aren’t enough affordable homes in Wales for those that need them. The announcement, made by the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson MP means that the change will now apply to tenancies in supported accommodation signed from April 2017. Community Land Trusts, housing co-operatives and alms houses will also be given a one year exception. CHC will continue to provide support to members involved in the review, and we will work with the DWP to ensure that it captures the full picture of what is offered by supported accommodation and that the needs of the devolved nations are captured in any UK-wide policy. We estimate that around 10,000 claimants will be affected in April 2018, and it is imperative that tenants and landlords entering into a tenancy from this April have clarity and certainty about these changes. Investment in housing boosts the local economy and local services, and this £20m will create 500 new jobs across Wales.
It provides tenants with higher levels of support than in general needs housing, and helps tenants with the confidence and know-how to take control of their lives.
Furthermore, these additional costs do not necessarily reflect the costs pressures associated with private sector rents, which are what ultimately dictate Local Housing Allowance levels. There are 36,908 supported housing units across the whole country; 22,110 owned and run by housing associations and a further 14,798 by local authorities.
The cap is economically counter-productive, with any reduction in spending on social security likely to be far outstripped in the long-term by presentations to health services and other support agencies. Another Welsh housing association has 48 bedsit units as part of their stock, predominantly housing tenants under the age of 35. We are concerned about the likely effect it will have on the ability of single people in supported or temporary housing to move onto permanent accommodation at the appropriate time. We have concerns that due to the discretionary and temporary nature of the DHP fund, this will put a significant element of funding for supported housing on an insecure footing and as a consequence could lead to a reduction in the provision of existing services and put new developments at risk at a time when pressure on services is increasing.


This will be a particular issue for those who need to live in supported housing on a longer term basis, for example, sheltered housing, retirement housing or adapted housing. A secure rental income stream alongside continued financial support from Welsh Government is vital for the future viability of Welsh housing associations, and this security means that the sector can continue to build more homes and deliver services in communities across Wales. The campaign brings together those who believe everyone has a right a decent affordable home to call their own and has been set up to ensure that housing is a key political issue in the National Assembly for Wales elections next May. We’ll meet at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay and will then march to the city centre for an event in the Hayes area of the city. CHC has consistently made the case to Welsh Government to emphasise the importance of investing in the housing association sector. Investment in housing helps stimulate the economy and provides job and training opportunities for local people, as well as funding new affordable homes. We now need Welsh Government to confirm the rental settlement in Wales that was previously agreed.
Extra capital of £900m for Wales will be made available over the next 5 years, and we call on Welsh Government to invest a significant proportion of this capital in Welsh housing.
It’s essential that Welsh Government supports the delivery of housing across all tenures, including social housing, to deliver an effective housing market.
We are especially concerned about the impact of aligning Housing Benefit with Local Housing Allowance for new social housing tenants. The Welsh Apprentice Challenge is a first for us and provides a real opportunity to showcase some of the amazing young talent working in the sector and the vast opportunities available. Since joining Cartrefi Conwy as a Modern Apprentice, she has had fantastic reviews from colleagues across the business.
However, the report clearly illustrates that the economic impact of the sector goes beyond bricks and mortar.
This decision applies from the enforcement date of the Housing Regeneration Act (HRA) 2008, with reclassification due to be implemented from early 2016. This decision should have no bearing on the independence of housing associations in the devolved administrations. Across the UK, we are the most successful partnership of public, private and third sectors. Figures out today (21 October) reveal that 89% of Welsh Government’s target to provide 10,000 additional affordable homes during this Assembly term have been delivered by Welsh housing associations with more than a year to go. We particularly welcome the recognition of the hard work and achievements of Welsh housing associations in their contribution to the 10,000 target, which comes after our sector made a Housing Supply Delivery pact with Welsh Government earlier this year. In order for the sector to continue to provide this substantial contribution to the economy, employment, training and the availability of homes, the sector needs the continued support of the Welsh Government through its investment in Social Housing Grant. Housing associations exceeded the previous target of 10,000 and the sector is up for the challenge of delivering more.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader, Kirsty Williams, held her seat in Brecon and Radnorshire with a substantial majority. Clarissa has previously worked for the Local Government Association and Hounslow and Birmingham Councils. From businesses to charities, and from Wales to Westminster, there is a clear consensus that we need to be building more homes to satisfy demand, yet we are still not building enough to meet our needs. Other supporting organisations include the Royal College of Nursing, the Church in Wales and Youth Cymru. They work closely with those involved in the provision of other services and infrastructure within their communities.
Homes for Wales speaks with one voice and calls on all politicians to commit to ending the housing crisis and building a stronger Wales.
152,000 20-34 years old still live at home, and 8,596 families have been on the housing waiting list since before the last election. It covers a huge range of housing schemes which help tenants who are experiencing a huge range of problems, including those who are fleeing domestic abuse, suffering from mental health problems, or those who have experienced homelessness.
Typically, the LHA is lower in more deprived areas and higher in more affluent parts of the country, meaning that the viability of supported housing in less well-off areas is threatened by the use of LHA to cap financial support.
The services are delivered by social landlords who have the specialist knowledge and expertise to support these tenants.
We can point to evidence of the impact that the Shared Accommodation Rate in the private rented sector in England has already had on the time young people spend in supported housing.
Supported housing would become unaffordable for those it is designed to assist and would cease to be an option.
Continued investment alongside a secure income stream through rent will enable housing associations in Wales to deliver 12,500 homes in the next Assembly term, which is an increase of 25% on the current target. Capping the rent at shared accommodation rate for under 35s will have a significant impact on single young people without children who require access to supported or social housing. For every one person directly employed by the sector, almost two other jobs are supported in the Welsh economy. This contribution means that the sector is on target to meet the 10,000 affordable homes target for this term of Government set in the Housing Supply Pact between CHC and the Welsh Government. Our independence allows us to draw in billions of pounds of private finance to provide thousands of affordable homes in the UK, create jobs and stimulate the economy.
Our members’ commitment to building and providing homes is clear and this work will continue up until we deliver the target, and beyond. Plaid Cymru won 12 seats, including leader Leanne Wood who defeated Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews in her home constituency of Rhondda.
Investing in housing creates jobs and training and apprenticeship opportunities, as well as regenerating communities and improving people’s lives. Today’s rally will hear from some of the people who are affected by the housing crisis, and their stories are a familiar theme throughout Wales.
A survey of Community Housing Cymru members[1] estimates that 82% of specified accommodation, such as these projects, would be over the LHA cap.
Community Housing Cymru members currently provide homes, to 6,440 tenants in this age group, with a further 1,571 living in local authority accommodation.
A recent report by Homeless Link highlights that the average length of stay amongst young homeless people has increased by 8.5 months to 16 months. Please commit to bringing staff members and tenants with you to the rally, and invite all your local contacts.
The Welsh Conservatives won 11 seats with leader Andrew RT Davies re-elected on the South Wales Central list. Investment in housing creates a ripple effect in the local and national economy, and the housing sector provides a crucial economic stimulus to Wales. Home is central to all things that lead to great well-being and active participation in the community and society.
Shelter Cymru figures have shown that 92% of these tenants would lose out if they signed their tenancy under the upcoming proposals.



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